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Direct, firsthand evidence…

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Genuine Hope | 0 comments

2 Peter 1:16-18

For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.

This afternoon I listened to a podcast featuring the deconstruction story of a well-known worship leader. Over a period of time, he essentially abandoned faith in Christ for a vague kind of spirituality. Most troubling for me was that he spoke in terms that lacked specifics. He wasn’t able or willing to give a reason for his lack of faith.

Certainly there were skeptics in the first century church. Peter addressed the issue of doubt with his first hand experience. In research a primary source “provides direct or firsthand evidence about an event, object, person, or work of art”(Ithaca College Library).

As one of the original disciples and part of Jesus’ inner circle of friends, Peter was a chief primary source for followers of Christ in the first century. Note in the words above, that Peter did not conspire with the other disciples to craft “cleverly devised stories” so when Peter spoke of the scenes surrounding the transfiguration from (Matthew 17), he spoke with authority. As an extension, Peter reminded his readers (and us) that his “prophetic message as something completely reliable” and that “above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1: 19-21)

Finally, in a later chapter, Peter endorsed the writings of Paul as inspired by the Holy Spirit when he wrote, “Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” (2 Peter 3: 15-16).

According to Peter, one of the primary eyewitnesses, the Truth is established by

  • the reliability of the eyewitnesses (1 Corinthians 15)
  • the Old Testament Scriptures were inspired by the Holy Spirit
  • Paul’s epistles to the first-century churches were accepted as inspired Scripture within thirty years of the Resurrection.

What’s the big deal? Peter knew (and would address directly) that If we cannot trust the veracity of any of the three sources above, what can we trust about our faith in Christ?

Peter’s warning applies to followers of Christ through the centuries, including ours. We live in a world where people often distort and twist the Scripture to form a doctrine or tradition that is clearly not taught in the whole of Scripture.

How do you resist the temptation from those who preach a Gospel that is not the Gospel at all? You must know what you believe and why.


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